Throwline/electric protocol

jimbo666

Active Member
Great post, @LimbLoppa. (Referring to post #14) Electricity is unforgiving. It is one thing to get your dyneema line over a high voltage line accidentally, and attempt to retrieve it after removing the throw bag. It is quite another to intentionally and repeatedly put throwlines over a utility company's power lines.

So here is my take on it. @jimbo666, Do not do that stuff, you are not qualified. I realize that maybe this is a done deal that happened a few years ago, but just in case you are considering continuing with the experiments. It is especially foolhardy to continue to try to push the limits to try to see just how crappy and dirty a rope you can get away with using.

The day you cross over the limit will be the worst day of your life, and almost certainly one of your last few remaining days. I have seen photographs of men's bodies who have been hit by high voltage. I nearly passed out just looking at them. Electricity burns a path through your body. The levels of voltage and current available with utility lines will cause horrific, life-ending damage to the body of a person hit by it. If one does survive it, one will most likely end up getting a large portion of the body amputated. It is absolutely nothing to play with. Do not push your luck.

Tim
Im not playing around ... throwline doesn't conduct . We raise the rope with a throwline . Nothing happen, im aware of danger of electricity, and i dont see any reason why i would pull another rope on powerline . What is done is done i dont need advice i want to see a study on rope conductivity, i dont know if it exist, i ask
 

Jem4417

Well-Known Member
I started my career doing utility work and made up my own rule that the throw line can touch lines that were 13.2 kv and under and my climbing line was fine touching 4 kV. Tough to
Think about that now that I'm on the residential side of things but getting close to those power lines turned natural after a while. Not a good thing but I learned they don't immediately evaporate anything that touches them
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have been looking for one since the first post- it doesn't ground because of the conductivity ( or lack thereof) of the rope. There was a study done on this recently for rescue situations, but I cannot seem to find the results. I will post a link as soon as I do.
YOU may have been "properly" grounded. Wet, sweaty clothes, gloves, boots would improve the ground immensely.
Power line workers wear dielectric boots, gloves, etc.
I used to work around and on (e.g. walk on) bus-work carrying hundreds of thousand of amps.
I tested my boots for pin holes & conductivity every day !
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have worked in the electro-chemical industry for more than 40 years.
The equipment used high voltage & hundreds of thousands of amps.
These currents could create magnetic fields that would pull a large wrench out of your pocket or hand.

I personally know lots & lots of folks that were shocked, some were severely burned.
(deaths have also occurred)
These were generally accidents, or because they were not following proper safety procedures.

I have never been "bitten". I was very careful.

Several options / comments:
1. Quit sub-scientific "experiments"
2. Follow the safety protocols.
These have been written based on true science, experience & accidents.
3. Don't set a "bad" example.
Just because you can't find the "ultimate" reference, doesn't mean that you should develop you own.
This approach could obviously lead to someone else following your example with a very different result.

All the best. Keep it safe.
There are already enough hazards out there without "testing" to see how close you can get.
 

monkeylove

Well-Known Member
How are we supposed to work around lines Greg, or can you point me to a book. Thanks.

Our local electronic company will send someone out if requested but they only cut what is touching the lines. That leaves alot of limbs that still need to be addressed and they usually within that zone where something might touch the line while trimming. Right now I use a fiberglass poled pruning saw as much as I can but I'm not sure that would be enough.
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Sorry. I'm no help. I don't work in trees around power lines.
I was just trying to point out the "folly" of testing the limits.
Even if you wear dielectric boots, you need some way of testing them periodically.
 

LimbLoppa

Well-Known Member
How are we supposed to work around lines Greg, or can you point me to a book. Thanks.

Our local electronic company will send someone out if requested but they only cut what is touching the lines. That leaves alot of limbs that still need to be addressed and they usually within that zone where something might touch the line while trimming. Right now I use a fiberglass poled pruning saw as much as I can but I'm not sure that would be enough.
Depends on which lines you are working around. On triplex(braided service lines) minimum approach is "avoid contact" on primary wires it depends on voltage. Normal distribution voltage doesn't exceed 26.5 kv which is a minimum approach of 31".
OSHA has recently deferred to the utility companies to provide the minimum approach distance to those working around their lines due to the variable voltages dependent upon how their distribution system is set up. If you treat all lines like they are the maximum voltage on any particular systems -you should be safe. That being said-per OSHA any person that is not Line Clearance certified cannot work within 10 feet of an energized line.
 

LimbLoppa

Well-Known Member
If you are concerned about your safety around the lines (a good thing) see if you can get in contact with the Utility Forester in your area. Explain your concerns and ask for information about the system you are working around. Utility companies get an overwhelming amount of requests to cut trees that "might fall on the lines", so legitimate requests are often grouped in with those. If you get in good with the forester, not only will you have a direct contact for your inquiries, you may pick up some extra work. Most line-clearance operations are only equipped for trimming -not removals and clean up.
 

NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
10 ft. Minimum Approach Distance (MAD) is clearly spelled out in ANSI Z-133 4.1.5 and is used by OSHA.

Climber or equipment shall not come within 10' of lines considered to be energized. Cable and communications lines are to be considered energized.

It is my understanding that they will be updating it to make the "shall" include anything that can create a ground, which will include the entire tree as part of the MAD.

Must be qualified (being a certified arborist or tree worker does not qualify someone) to be within 10'.

This safety standard was created for arborist by arborists. It is also based on research on fatalities and injuries.

Stay well clear unless you have EHAP, which just shrinks the MAD, or a utility line clearance cert.


If you or an employee gets zapped, then you are liable. You broke the MAD
 

Wood_Dog

New Member
I have thrown my line across the neutral wire on a two phase. My first reaction was to remove it as fast as I could, I didn't bother taking my bag off the line. Instead, i just tugged it off. I was careful not to swing the bag on to the primary. The line did shake. I was using my company's equipment witch is as standard as it gets. A 16 ounce weaver throw ball and cheap target line, probably nylon.
 

Engineer22

New Member
I wonder if someone could help me, I am thinking best choice of throwline material when working next to electrical lines? Is dyneema so non-conductive as to be able to pull it off a line or is this abject folly? Many thanks.
Give this rope a look. Its dielectric even when wet and can be tested like an FRP hot stick tool. It can also be knotted, but comes with sewed eyes at each end.

https://www.barry.ca/products/hl-np?variant=45130406990
 

evo

Well-Known Member
I've done it twice with zing or fling it. First time was a ricochet and the line went 0ver a three phase. We cleared the tail by tossing a fiberglass pole on the line then untieing from the cube. We did the same on the bag side and just pulled the line out from under the grounded pole.
Second time was using way to much power on the big shot, and making the perfect shot. The bag just flew through the crotch, and sailed away. I had no clue it was over the power lines across the road, I started to pull the bag up, then met resistance. I thought it was a tight twig union, so I tried breaking it off a few times. After tugging on it HARD I noticed the powerlines were swaying down the street, that's when I had the "OH SHIT" moment. Went and looked and the damn bag wrapped about a million times around the wire. I called the power co, lady on the phone had no clue what I was talking about. She repeated what she thought was going on as a kite on a power line.
While waiting I cleared the opposite end, and cut the line as it was presenting a traffic hazard too.

both times I don't want to repeat, but certainly made indirect contact with bare wires.
 

TimBr

Official Well Known Greeter
@Engineer22; Welcome to the TreeBuzz forum! I think you are going to like it here! Great first post, congratulations!

I appreciate you going to the trouble of signing up for the forum to post that link. Barry Products is a company I'd never heard of before I read your post. Thanks again.

Tim
 

GregManning

Super Moderator
Staff member
Give this rope a look. Its dielectric even when wet and can be tested like an FRP hot stick tool. It can also be knotted, but comes with sewed eyes at each end.
https://www.barry.ca/products/hl-np?variant=45130406990
Just My Opinion ................
OK, it passes a dielectric test when new, clean, and even wet with pure water.

Mineral salts, dirt, sea salt, etc, etc will effect that dielectric condition.
In the electrochemical industry, boots, gloves, poles, etc are tested every day or before use.
I doubt that ANY tree service is going to have this capability, unless that is their specialty.

Personally, I would not use that rope without the ability to test.

I have , many times, seen high-tension ceramic insulators arc between each other on a humid day just because they were dirty. (i.e. they were conducting on the surface !)
 

Colin1234567

New Member
Good post NorCalBrock, though I’d like to make one distinction in regards to EHAP because it’s been on my mind quite recently because of my new employers expectations about proximity to power lines. I have been switching between utility and residential for the past few years and I recently switched back into the residential sector. The only entity that says you can get within 10 feet of lines is the actual utility company. Having EHAP makes you more educated, but your MAD does not shrink accordingly. My new employer thinks I’m arguing semantics when I try to explain this distinction. Will I get closer than 10 feet to finish a tree in residential- yes. Am I breaking MAD? Yes. I am no longer a line clearance certified arborist as soon as I quit my utility job and switched to residential. Just wanted to try to clear this up because I’ve seen this misnomer many times with many companies. Great thread. Cheers.
 
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misfit

Active Member
I am just now seeing this discussion, and I have read it all with great interest because this happened to me once a few years ago. I was shooting my throwbag in a direction parallel to the power lines in a residential area, and the bag ricocheted 90 degrees over the power lines. The bag fell to the leaf-covered ground with the throw line resting over two uninsulated wires. The back end of the throwline was still tied to my cube sitting on a concrete parking lot. I was expecting sparks to fly, but nothing happened. My question is this: if the throwline is conducting, should it not be causing some sparks or at least a little noise where it touches the ground? If there are no sparks or noise, does this indicate that is it probably safe to touch?
 

speelyei

Active Member
Staff member
Overhead primary wires always have an amount of potential energy in terms of amperage. That amperage is always looking for a path to ground. It will take any and all paths to ground, once that path presents itself.
The term describing the pressure that amperage is under is voltage.
Without more information, it’s impossible to know what voltage the circuit your throwline came to rest upon was operating at.
As has been established, a clean dry throwline makes for a poor conductor of electricity.
But, it’s not necessary for the throwline to be capable of delivering 100% of the amperage to injure or kill a person. So it becomes a combination of how much amperage, how much voltage, how good is the conductor, how good is the contact between the conductor and the energy source, what is the duration, etc.
So when you consider the situation from that perspective, the answer is No, it won’t necessarily spark, smoke, or make any sound. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t electricity present.
 
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